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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Rangitutias Case

Rangitutias Case.

This claim differs materially from all others in this case, since he claims for himself and friends the exclusive ownership of the block, and denies the right of the other claimants.

Rangitutia contends that those members of the Ngatiraukawa at Otaki have equal rights with himself and the other permanent occupants of the land, no matter whether they have or have not occupied this land since 1829, the date of Te Whatanui's migration. All that he requires is that they shall be descendants of the ancestors whom he recognises as the original owners.

He does not deny that Tukorehu and his allies conquered the Ngatiraukawa, but asserts that none of the Ngatiraukawa migrated in consequence of this conquest, and calls the attention of the Court to the fact that peace had been made before any members of the tribe had left for Kapiti. Ho States that the reasons for leaving, were, firstly, that they wished to be in a position to obtain guns and powder; and, secondly, that they had been invited by To Rauparaha to assist him against the Ngaitahu, who had murdered Te Pehi. Raugitutia therefore contends that the ancestral title of the Original owners has been maintained up to the present day.

He denies that either Te Momo, Rangihiroa, or Te Kohika, ancestors of Areta and her friends, ever lived on the land, but does not deny that the first-named is buried at Panetapu, on this block.

He moreover, explains that he had always [unclear: objented] to the lists of names handed in by the [unclear: Ngatimaniapoto], [unclear: Ngatimitakorov] Ngatiwairangi, and Ngatihinewai, and asserts that these people 'were' included in the lists of owners by Ngaraka out of "aroha" and that in the case of Ngatitekohera, Ngatiparekawa, and Ngatiparetekawa, he had objected to them in Court, but was told that the Court could not strike out these people, and that his proper course was to object when the land came before the Court for subdivision.

The right of Raugitutia and those members of the Ngatiraukawa tribe who remained on, or in the vicinity of, their ancestral lands, has not been questioned by anyone; the Court will not, therefore, remark upon their title.

The points to be decided in these two cases will be as follow:—"

1st. Did the Ngatiraukawa migrate in consequence of any conquest?

2nd. Have the migrations affected the title to this land?

3rd. Are the present owners entitled to claim by continuous ancestral occupation?

4th. What occupation had the Ngatiraukawa subsequent to the Hangahanga fight?

5th. What occupation, if any, had Te Kohika?

6th. Are the Ngatiraukawa owners now entitled to repudiate those persons, more than 300 in number, whom they formerly admitted, but now say have no right?

Before considering these questions, it is advisable to explain the circumstances that led to the quarrel which resulted in the migration of Ngatiraukawa as a tribe, and left only a few scattered families behind them.

The real cause of this feud with the Ngatimaniapoto was undoubtedly the murder of Paretekawa, daughter of Tukorehu, and of Maniapoto, son of To Akanui. These people were killed by the Ngatiwhakatero, and, about the same period, the Ngatiraukawa murdered Rangipakaru, of Ngatihaua, and Harara, of Ngatinaho. To avenge these outrages, a powerful confederacy was formed under the leadership of Tukorehu, Wahanui, and other chiefs of [unclear: Ngaumaniapoto] and Muriwheuna and Pohepohe, of Ngatihaua: Many battles were fought, the post important being To Ureparawera, Piriaka, and Hurimoana. This last, which, so far as can be ascertained, was fought about the year 1812, was the decisive engagement of the first stage of the war, and there the Ngatiwhakatero were defeated with great slaughter—among others, their famous "toa," Te Roha, was killed, as also the chiefs Te Rangitakaroro. To Karu, Te Ngako, Tupeke, and others. It is said that Te Roha did not die unavenged, for, of the conquerors. Wahanui was speared in eight places, and Muriwhernua, Maungatantari, and Pohepohe were each wounded by him before he himself met his death at the hands of Te Muringa.

For some years after this crushing defeat, the Ngatiraukawa remained quietly on their lands presumably undisturbed by their enemies; but this was a condition of things that, from the very nature of the Maori, could not be maintained', since revenge was a necessity to any tribe that desired to preserve its "mana" Under this influence, a message was sent to the Ngatipukeko tribe, of Whakatane, asking assistance, and they responded to the [unclear: call], under the leadership of two very great warriors, Kihi and Mokai.

They joined Ngatrwhakatere and Ngatiraukawa, who had assembled under the chiefs Te [unclear: Him] and Hape, and not only defeated the Ngatihaua near Cambridge, but also killed the great chief Maungatautari, near Poutama, and finally, aided by a party of Ngapuhi and Ngatimaru, defeated Ngatimaniapoto at Mangatoatoa, killing the chief Wharara. Manga was himself present at this battle.

Subsequent to this affair, a combined war party of Arawa and Ngatiraukawa defeated the Ngatimaniapoto at Kakamutu with great loss—Te Wharaunga fell among others.

To avenge these losses, a second confederacy was formed and a strong war party of Ngatihana, Waikato, Ngapuhi, and Ngatimaniapoto assembled, and, at Tangimania, Hangahanga and other places, so crushed the power of Ngatiraukawa that they retired to Pawaiti, Taupo, and Rotorua. Haugahanga was the last place at which Ngatiraukawa met the Ngatimaniapoto in battle, and it is said that this fight took place about the year 1819. The retreat from Hangahanga was, in the first instance, directed towards Pawaiti and other places in the vicinity of Patetere, and, at the former place, they were visited by Tukorehu and Te Akanui, who, page break being nearly related to Ngatiraukawa, were unwilling to push matters to extremities—and here, not only was peace made, but the fugitives were invited to return and occupy their former homes; this, however, they would not do, for reasons which are perfectly clear to the Court, and which will be presently considered.

We will now deal with the first question, "Did Ngatiraukawa leave in consequence of any conquest?"

Rangitntia, in answer to question? by Mr. Gage, gave the following replies: "I cannot say whether the Ngatiraukawa, who migrated to Rotorua, lived under the mana of Rangitoheriri; or if those who went to Taupe were under the mana of Te Kohika and Te Pacrata; or those at Otawhao were under the mana of Te Paewaka; or those at Okauia under the mana of Te Waharoa." We will take Raugitutia's reply in the sense that he did not admit the mana of the chief's [unclear: in] question over his people, but he made no attempt to deuy the fact of their having been scattered to the four corners of the earth; and therefore it is that the Court asks: If it is true, as stated by Rangitutia that none of his tribe migrated because of the conquest, then why are they found, to bo scattered in this manner among other tribes?

It is no doubt true, as stated by Ngatiraukawa, that peace was made with Ngatimaniapoto and Waikato before the various hokes left, but it is not clear to the Court that Ngatiraukawa placed any faith in that peace. There is, however, a much stronger cause for the migration—one mentioned by many witnesses in the Robe Potae investigation, but not touched upon in this Court. In the minutes of the Court, book 12. page 167, Piripi Whanatangi says: "When the Ngatitaukawa fled from Hangahanga, they went to Pawaiti, and lived there until Kiwi, of the Ngatimaru tribe, was murdered at Tauranga. This caused Ngatimaru to attack and capture the Ngatiraukawa pa, Kopu, an island in the Waikato River. Those who escaped fled to Pitaunui, where they were followed, and again attacked, and subsequently the chiefs Te Whatakaraka and Herearu were killed. After this all Ngatiraukawa migrated to Taupo, and when the various hapui had assembled at that place the whole tribe moved off to Kapiti. Of the few who remained, it was said by Te Houoiti that they were food for Waikato." At page 33l, book 14, Hauauru says:—" It was before the death of Te Whatakaraka that Te Rauparaha sent to Ngatiraukawa for assistance. Those living near Taupo went; those living near Te Waotu and Wharepuhunga did not go until Iong after." Now Rangitutia tells us that a very largo majority of the Wharepuhunga hapus went with Te Whatanui, and this was not two years after the first migration, in which there were also many people of this land. Hauauru [unclear: saids]:—"I only now appear in Court because Waikato are trying to take this land." On two occasions it has been given in evidence before this Court that, in the Rohe Potue case, it was arranged beforehand that evidence as to conquest should not be given, lest the Waikato tribes should thereby be admitted as owners, either at Kawhia or Wharepuhunga. Hauauru has given his evidence as a strong adherent of Ngatiraukawa, whose one purpose was to keep out Waikato at all hazards, and for this reason his evidence is unreliable except where he is speaking against his own interest. As an instance, he says that Manga had no right on this block. That this is not true is evident from the evidence of Rangitutia, who shows that Manga has a right.

Rangitutia says that Te Whatanui, when invited to return to this land by Te Heuheu, who had been deputed to visit hint at Kapiti for that purpose, would not do so because he had killed his enemies at that place, and had no reason for leaving.

The Court has no doubt whatever as to the reasons that instigated Ngatirankawa to refuse to return, whether after the peacemaking at Pawaiti, or on the occasion of Te Heuheu's visit to Kapiti. Had they accepted the offer and returned to this land, they must have done so in a position subordinate to Tukorehu, and other Ngatinantapoto chiefs, and this they were not prepared to do. That the Court is correct in taking this view of the question is evident from the waiata sung by Te Whatanui, commencing, "I rango korero au Ki te tanyata." Ngatiraukawa were conquered, and they knew it, but they were a [unclear: rangctiira] tribe, and declined to live as vassals to any mau. They knew, also, that if they could but reach Kapiti, both freedom and safety would be found at that place For these reasons they deliberately relinquished their ancestral home; they did not so much fear loss of life as loss of honour—and this, we may say, is of all Maori characteristics the most common. Rangitutia is not justified in saying that Whatanui had killed his enemies at Kapiti. The Court knows of no enemies killed by Ngatiraukawa at that place, but does know it to be a matter of history that they were saved from extinction at the hands of Ngatiawa and Turauaki by the war party of Taonui Hikaka and Te Heuheu, and were subsequently defeated by the same tribes at the Kuititauga with heavy loss.

The Court finds that the Ngatiraukawa tribe did migrate to avoid the natural consequences of a conquest, commenced by Ngacinaniapoto and Waikato, and subsequently carried on by Ngatimaru.

We will now consider the second and third questions—Have the migrations affected the title to this land? and, if so, are the present owners entitled to claim continuous ancestral occupation'?—but before doing so, will remind the Ngatiraukawa that the Court will in this, as in all other cases, be guided by the well-known rule that the Court must sit and decide as though it were sitting in 1841.

What then was the condition of this land at or about that period? Rangitutia tells us that he and his people never gave up possession of this land, and that they only left it temporarily to come to Otawhao after Christianity had been firmly established (presumably about the year l845), and then only to be near the Rev. Mr. Morgan.

Hitiri te [unclear: Pacerata] tells the Court that, after the Hangahanga fight, this land was deserted; that the few families left behind by Te Whatanui, [unclear: fled] for the most part to Taupo, and lived at that place under the mana of To Kohika and Te Paerata; and that To Kohika and Kawhia (father of Manga), were the first to re-occupy the block at Oteruahinc and other places.

Now these two accounts differ widely, and are not to bo reconciled; the question is therefore, which is the truth? The Court must accept Hitiri's statement, for the reason that it is corroborated by many witnesses who have given evidence in other Courts. The Court will quote two only—one as to Te Aokatoa's occupation, by a European and disinterested witness; the other, on the same subject, because he is notoriously favourable to Ngatiraukawa.

In the Maungatautari case. Dr. R. R. Hooper, in Court Minute, Book No. 12, says:—"I lived at Orakau from 1848 to 1863. Te Aokatoa, Nikora, Huirama, and others lived there during that time. To Aokatoa and his brother also lived at Aratitaha during that period." Hauauru, in concluding his evidence in the Rohe Potao case says:—" Te Aokatoa, Tongariro, and their people were conducted by us recently to reside at Wharepuhunga; it was after the introduction of Christianity, and they came to join the Church." Now, this is the chief whom Rangitutia admits was chosen by them to give evidence and support their case. It is true that Hauauru says that these people did not go to Taupo, but remained, at pawaiti, but Kaukiuta in the Rohe Potse case, says that Te Paewaka went to Taupo, and brought Te Aokatoa and his followers to Otawhao.

From the foregoing evidence it is clear that for some years, both before and after the year 1810, the Ngatiraukawa were not in page 704 actual occupation of this land; but there is even reason to believe that their relations, Te Kohika and Kawhia, did hold the land, and thereby prevented the Waikato tribes from intruding; and that they did this by virtue of their own power as chiefs of vary high rank, and were moreover supported by the [unclear: Ngatomatii] apoto and their uncle, Pehi Tukorehu, a very noted warrior. The manaof this land was during that period in the hands of the above-named chiefs, and this mana was derived, not only from the conquest, but also from ancestral right, as descendants of Te Momo-o-Irawaru. Ordinarily speaking, there is no such tiling as mana over land—it is, for the most part, a modern invention—but this is not an ordinary case. Here a tribe is defeated, loses all power over its land, and migrates to another part of the island, leaving their estate in the lands of powerful and quasi-hostile relations. Can it be contended that the few families who remained under the mana of other tribes held the land as against those of their conquering relatives, who also occupied? It cannot; and the proof is, that no one could have prevented the before mentioned chiefs from seizing this land had they desired to do so.

The Court finds that the ancestral right of Ngatiraukawa over this land ceased at the time when Whatanui, having collected the scattered members of the tribe at Taupo, marched, men, women, and children to Kupiti. From that time, the right of those who have lived on this land has been based on the invitation of Tukorehu and Te Akanui to return, and on the subsequent occupation.

With reference to the fourth question, the Court is of opinion that the first persons to occupy after Hangahanga were Kawhia. Te Kohika, and their adherents, and that they, some time subsequent to the Treaty of Wataugi, collected and protected the scattered remnants of Ngatiraukawa.

The Court finds that Te Kohika and Kawhia had an undoubted right to this land, and that neither the latter, nor his son, Manga, derived that right exclusively from their mothers. In Minute Book No. 7. page 266, Te Raugikaripiripia says that Kapu's residence was at Te Anauni, near [unclear: Wherepapa,] on this block; and, during the investigation by the Royal Commission into the Marauroa case, Hauauru Says that he gave back the land from Wairakei to Te Pouakani to Te Auheke, who was one of the principal owners. Now, this [unclear: nan] was an ancestor of Areta Kapu—therefore we have the testimony of two witnesses, both independent, that the Kohika family did reside on the block, and had a right to do so.

With regard to the claim of Tupotahi the Court cannot admit that the descendants of Tukorehu have an equal right with those of Te Kohika and Kawhia. During the lifetime of that chief no one would have been found bold enough to dispute his title, but his descendants have admitted that they have not occupied for the last forty-five years.

The actual owners of this land have been unfortunate, inasmuch as the list of names was passed by general consent outside the Court, and without that inquiry into the right and status of those seeking to become owners, which would alone protect the interests of the permanent residents of the block. It is the opinion of this Court that the Maoris are to blame for this method of conducting their affairs, but will remark, for their future guidance, that this Court will not accept lists of names without scrutiny merely because the owners request the Court to do so.

During the subdivision of the Kawhia blocks it was said in evidence that the lists of names were crowded by those who had no right or interest in the' block, in order to exclude the Waikato tribes, whoso claims wore feared by the Ngatimaniapoto, and that this course was pursued under the impression that the persons so admitted could be quietly shunted on to some out-of-the-way corner of the block, where their presence would not trouble the real owners whenever the land came before the Court for partition. The Court is unable to say whether this feeling has actuated the Maoris in this case also, but the effect has been the same. In a former case, Mr. Fenton, then Chief Judge of the Court, expressed a very decided opinion on the claims of those members of the Ngatiraukawa tribe who had migrated to Kapiti and other places, deserting their ancestral lands. His decision was to the effect that these people had no right whatever to the Patetcre or Waikato lands. Unfortunately, this sound decision has not always been followed, and therefore, in the present case, the Court finds no less than 572 persons have been admitted who have practically no right to be on the rolls of the Court for Wharepuhunga. Of these, probably 200 are of the Kapiti people. In other words, out of a total of 991 owners, 573 have no right.

There are many reasons why people who have no right should not be admitted even at the request of the real occupants of the land.

Firstly: Because valuable evidence is often lost to the Court by a promise from those interested to include a presumably dangerous witness among the owners; and, at other times, apparently disinterested evidence, which may have great weight with the Court, is purchased by the facilities offered for the iuclusion of these persons, who deserve no other name than "land loafers." Secondly: It is improper to allow the chief of a tribe to include all his remote relations of other tribes at the expense, not of himself, but of his people, since this is done with no other object than to ensure the substantial compliment being returned in kind, not to the people who have suffered, but to the chief. This species of [unclear: traffic] in land is dignified by the name of aroha (affection), but seems hardly to deserve that title, since it is but a lively sense of benefit to come.

There is yet another reason why this pernicious system of aroha (?) should be put a stop to, and that is, that most of the litigation in the Native Land Courts is carried on by means of money obtained from expectant grantees. This is exceedingly hard on the actual owners, who are frequently called upon to defend their land against bogus claims of this nature.

In this case, the Court having been induced, by what may fairly be termed false pretences, to include these 572 persons—with the result that the work of every depart-partment connected with Native Lands has been enormously increased—the question naturally arises, to what extent should the persons responsible for this loss of time and money be allowed to repudiate their previous actions, now that this block is again before the Court for definition of interests? Are they to be allowed to say, "It is true that we allowed, or, indeed, caused, these people to be included as owners, but we now tell you they have no right?" This is the position adopted by Rangitutia, who says that the Ngatitekohera, Ngatiparekawa, and Ngatiparetekawa have no right whatever. To a certain extent, the Court agrees with him, but also holds that he having admitted these very people, is now estopped from denying their right, though not from showing that they have a small but substantial claim.

This is also the position of the other counter-claimant, and of Hitiri. They deny the title of the Otaki people and of those admitted by aroha (?), and the same remark apply to them with equal force.

After a careful investigation, during which enquiry has been made into the claim of each of the 991 owners, the Court is of opinion that the section represented by Hitiri te Paerata have only a remote claim by ancestry, and practically none by occupation; that the descendants of Te Kohika have a good claim, but that most of those claiming with them have hardly any claim; and that the Ngatiraukawa of Otaki are in the same position page break as Hitiri's people, the Ngatitekohera.

In pursuance with this decision, the Court has awarded:
1¼ shares to 1 person
1 share each to 247 persons
¾ share each to 27 persons
½ share each to 107 persons
¼ share each to 572 persons

In all, 465 full shares, each possessing an acreage value of 287a 2r 11p, more or less.

With reference to the claim made by Te Paehua to have the position of Taporaroa altered, and the small piece of land included wrongfully in this block awarded to him, the Court is of opinion that the judgment in the Maraeroa Block practically settled this case, and that the position of Taporaroa should be as claimed by Te Paehua. This is not, however, a Partition Court, but this claim has been practically settled by the shares awarded to Te Paehua and others.

The Court has struck out of the Wharepuhunga rolls the names of 36 persons who were found to be duplicates of those already on the roll, and also the name of one person who had been placed on the roll as an owner, in anticipation of its birth, but which event apparently never took place.

W. E. Gudgeon, Judge;

Pirimi Mataiawhea, Assessor.